I’m not up for the “ski every month” club, but I’m working on “hot springs every month”. So far we have been to Clear Creek in May, and to Meager in June, so I needed something for July. Thirty-three years ago I drove a rusted out Volvo up the W side of Harrison Lake, starting at the Sasquatch Inn and ending at, well, Vancouver, via Pemberton. For some reason I wanted to repeat this, with the Jeep. As the route passes by Sloquet HS and Skookumchuk HS, this seemed to be a reasonable funemployed mid-week objective. You don’t want to do hot-springs on a weekend; they get crowded. We could hone our car-camping and hot-springing skills. Most people have to work during the week, but Sarah Taylor and Jason Chi were keen.
To make it a bit more challenging for ourselves we brought no maps, but we did bring a copy of the excellent “3rd edition Hot Springs of Western Canada”. At the Sasquatch Inn fruit stand we bought strawberries, apricots, cherries as we felt a vitamin deficiency coming on. Shortly we passed the turnoff to Hemlock Valley ski area and the road began to deteriorate. We dodged a couple of heavily loaded logging trucks. It’s good to realize that the roads, such as they are, are built for logging, not for entertaining us tourists. Next we were stopped by one of the largest flat-bed trailers, apparently unloading an army tank. As the road was blocked for a while I got to chat with the operator and it turns out they are buying army surplus tanks and rebuilding them as rock drills, and using them to build logging roads.
Eventually, just as the guidebook predicted, the road deteriorated and we switched to 4WD, hoping to not destroy the tires on the abundant pointy rocks, or possibly rip off a wheel on a pothole. Sometimes I had to apologize to the Jeep “Sorry, Jeep”, when I failed to slow down properly for a pothole. After way too much driving, Sarah the navigator claimed that we had just entered the final road up Sloquet Creek. After even more driving I checked with the GPS and it said that we were indeed getting closer. At the Sloquet Hot Spring Campsite we asked how many people were being accommodated, and the operator went into a long story about his brother and his girlfriend, so it seemed, not very crowded. We set up our tents, honed our hot-spring skills for a while, and went to bed. Next morning we did some more honing, then launched the jeep towards Skookumchuk Hot spring.
By the time we passed the turnoff to historic Port Douglas, we were getting really tired of driving so decided to save Port Douglas for another trip. Likewise the church at Skatin. I can’t help but wonder what the First Nations people think, today, about the religion that was forced upon them by the white man, how many are “good god-fearing Christians”, and how many rebel, seeing their ancestors buried, with crosses, in the cemeteries which line the road. So, eventually, we arrived at Skookumchuk (now called T’sek). The operator told us there were maybe six cars there, so, not crowded. People drifted in and out of the pools throughout the day; we often had the whole spring area to ourselves.
Sarah modelling bath robe
Roland trying to get friendly with bear
One decision we had to keep revisiting, was whether or not to wear clothes in the hot springs. Things that would indicate that nudity was OK include whether there was anybody else at the spring at all, or if there was, whether they were wearing clothes or not, or if it was dark, and of course your personal preference. Some think that small children should be protected from seeing naked adults, and there may be some justification for this as children are born naked and need to be trained to wear clothes. Anyway, it didn’t seem to matter much to us; others at the spring may have been offended, but they didn’t say so.
The next day, not particularly bright and early, we did the usual soak thing, apple pie for breakfast, coffee in the pools, then at 09:00 precisely we hit the road for Pemberton, Whistler, Squamish, Vancouver. The drive home was accomplished without incident.
Several Roads Not Traveled: Note Tire Repair Service
Animals seen: Some sort of lizard-salamander thing. A deer. Lots of chipmunks. Flies in the outhouse.
A Comparison of T’sek and Sloquet Hot Springs.
For more on Hot Spring Rating, see
Sloquet suffers from some serious annoyances. The hot spring is below the campsite, down a long steep trail. There is no water at the campsite; if you want water, go down to the hot spring and scoop it from Sloquet Creek. There are no toilets down at the hot spring; if you need a toilet, go up to the campsite. The hot water which emerges from the ground is way too hot for humans, but down closer to the creek it becomes tolerable. There wasn’t much water in the comfortable range, and naturally this changes as Sloquet Creek gets bigger or smaller with the season. It is possible to drive all the way and find that the hot spring pools are submerged in the creek, or the creek has swept away the pools. Winter is the best time to visit hot springs, but Sloquet is not a winter destination, as the road will be blocked by snow in the winter. Even in the summer, you have to like driving to like Sloquet. But $15 per carload is a good price. If you like sand, and a cold river nearby, go for Sloquet. For current details, email [email protected]
Skook (T’sek) hot spring can accommodate many more people, in groups, in an assortment of hot tubs, mystery tubs, and half of a septic tank. The temperature can be modified in most of these as hot and cold water arrive at the tub and may be chosen in any proportion (though different people have different temperature needs). The cold water is drinking quality, but don’t quote me on this. There are many outhouses nearby. Camping is very handy to the pools. The drive is almost reasonable ( five hours from T’sek to my house, allowing a few minutes for Macdonalds in Pemberton). One night at T’sek cost us $37.50 I wouldn’t go there on a weekend unless it was a particularly unpleasant weekend where the weather might make it less crowded. It seems that T’sek is being actively advertised, so it is likely to become even more crowded.